Sometimes a relationship literally lands on our doorstep.
When I moved into my home in Crown Point, the previous owner had left evidence of pets. Having been pet-free for four years I wasn’t necessarily open to having one in my new home. However, in late November, as I settled in, I noticed a black and white cat making its rounds through the streets. Sometimes he would appear out of nowhere as I opened the front door and would try to go into the house. I thought this was interesting behavior for a street cat.
He came around more and more, often seeking to be petted. I was so perplexed that I asked my neighbour if this cat had lived at this house. The response was no, he has always lived on the street. Sometimes I would see a rough and tumble catfight only to discover that one of the animals was my visitor cat. So, I started calling him Scrappy.
Come summer, one of my daughters came to live with me. She enjoys sitting on the front porch and Scrappy would come by seeking hugs and snuggles. I tried to discourage that relationship but they both seemed committed to spending time together. This past spring Scrappy went missing for 10 days. When he showed up at our door in bad shape with signs of a fight, we opted to take him into the house. The next day we took him to the vet for antibiotics, blood work, and flea and tick medication. We had to make a commitment on the spot to welcoming Scrappy into our home and hearts. He is FIV positive so he will live out his days in our home and I suspect he is content to do so.
Scrappy already has taught us a few things about life and community. He reminded us that it’s important to care for our feline friends who have no place to call home, who rely on people to offer them water and food as they are able. Scrappy helped us to connect with neighbours who also have a soft spot for homeless dogs and cats. Sometimes when I am feeling stressed, Scrappy persistently encourages me to sit down so that he can jump onto my lap, purr, and help me relax and unwind.
We can all be mindful of the pets around us in our neighborhoods, in the homes of friends and families. Studies have shown that pets bring us joy, and peace and love. If you are a person who doesn’t necessarily like pets, I invite you to open yourself up to observing animals, for they do have a lot to teach us about ourselves and our communities.
To quote April Peerless, “To love all animals is to love all life. To love all life, is to be rooted in your spirituality.” There is something magical, perhaps even mystical, about a loving relationship between a person and a pet.
May we continue to grow in community and be compassionate spiritual beings to all creation.